Even though it's still early-ish in the day, there are already some fun examples of what a collective meltdown on 4chan's heavily pro-Trump /pol/ board might look like if their candidate doesn't win.
This morning, though, posts started to appear that dared to ask the question, "what if Trump loses?"
To be absolutely clear, there are slim odds that these posts are being made in earnest. Trolling is so much a part of 4chan's culture that it seems likely this is an attempt to get /pol/'s goat. Establishing this for certain isn't helped by the fact that posts on 4chan are almost exclusively anonymous. Nonetheless, watching the sub-board react defensively to the idea that their candidate might lose is pretty funny.
For instance, in response to the post above, a slew of posters accused the original poster of working for Correct the Record (CTR), the David Brock-run pro-clinton group. Of course, odds are this is just someone from another 4chan sub-board (maybe the anarchic /b/, 'random,' board) messing with the /pol/ dwellers. Some insisted that Trump is still going to win, while another called the candidate a "cuck," the defining insult of the election.
There's also this post asking what state Trump would have to lose before posters would give up:
Again, some accused the person who started the thread of working for CTR. But in this case, some posters answered earnestly too, largely saying they're concerned about Florida and Pennsylvania. One wrote "I really am scared" and admited that they lack confidence Trump will win.
One response said not to worry and that "Trump has this in the bag, CTR is effective if you are worrying that is what the enemy wants." Another posted a meme edited to look like a nazi soldier and quoted the novel Dune, writing "Fear is the mind killer."
Someone who claimed to be from elsewhere on 4chan took the time to chastise /pol/ as a whole:
I want you to reflect on your sins tonight. I want you to reflect on every shitpost you made outside of /pol/. I want you to reflect on the countless hours you spent shilling. Just imagine - it was all in vain. And for the next four years, you're going to live under the sovereignty of MADAME PRESIDENT.
"Maybe next time try getting an actual competent politician as a nominee instead of a meme," one poster wrote. Yet another sanguinely said "we can only pray for victory" next to an image of Pepe, the comic frog who's been warped almost beyond recognition by this election season.
Trolly "what if?" posts aren't the only ones showing up that run contrary to the /pol/ consensus. There are also posters who backed other Republican candidates in the primaries taking the opportunity to rub that in the face of /pol/'s Trump fans. Take this Rand Paul fan, for instance:
…who got the hackles of one Trump AND Rand fan up, leading them to write:
Fuck off shill, I've seen 5 of these threads today.
I love Rand and I'd support his run for senate if I were a Yank, but he's endorsed Trump, he knows what's at stake with Clinton.
Stand with Rand by refusing to let Clinton win
Or this post calling Trump a fascist, which was met by a mix of defiance from Trump fans and gleeful agreement:
Of course, all of this is incredibly premature, since polls haven't even closed yet. Even so, after watching /pol/ sink deeper into its own bigotry over the past few months, with some posters taking action up to and including launching a small distributed denial-of-service attack on phone banks this morning, it's interesting to see more active dissent on the board. The resentful, conspiratorial spirit isn't going to dissipate post-election, especially since 4chan has a long history of racism and sexism outside of /pol/. But this is a reminder of how little it takes for some of the confidence the board has had in Trump to weaken.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org